What a Month

As y’all have probably noticed, not much has been going on with the blog recently. Quite frankly, there’s so much to tell that I’ve been too busy doing it all that there hasn’t been a lot of time or energy left to write about it. I’m sure some will come out in upcoming posts as things progress, hopefully in a more manageable manner.

Pixi

Sadly, it simply didn’t work out. The rescue took her back, and acknowledged that I’m a good doggy person, but now isn’t the right time. I was spending too much focusing on getting her home-ready, which it turns out isn’t something expected of the foster homes. This is a small, new rescue, meaning the processes and funding are being worked out.

I was quite nervous about Pixi’s happiness, too, because I adored her spirit and snuggles. Thank goodness she was ecstatic to see her foster mom again! This made me feel a lot better, knowing Pixi probably felt like this was more like camp or a vacation from Birgitta, and shouldn’t have any emotional scars from her second failed placement.

Birgitta and her son were quite surprised at the difference in Pixi, noting a larger command vocabulary and significantly improved emotional control. Pixi also went back to the foster home with notes about the training that occurred, and they say they are going to keep it up, because it may help her next placement stick better. She also went home with a humane training collar and some medical notes from the new vet checkup, which included an antibiotic for her cough.

Lastly, we gave Birgitta the bowl that helped Pixi eat more slowly and healthfully. This hound also returned with some scarfing and stealing food training. Given that we had her for under a month, if I recall correctly, these were a lot of welcome changes to a wonderful girl that deserves a loving home.

I’m sad that we can’t be it.

While I adore hounds, my father is very sensitive to them, and her Bassett-ness is something he’d find unacceptable, even though I know he’d also love having her personality in the home.

Jr

Now I can re-focus on enjoying Jr’s last days.

That being said, Pixi did some good things for Jr. The competition for food, even though they had separate eating areas, made him eat more. And more importantly, the competition for treats (including those with medication!) made getting his medicine in a lot easier. Meaning we’re back to “picky Jr”. He’s quickly dropping the weight he’d put back on, and is virtually impossible to medicate.

He’s also clearly happy to being an only-dog again, though. He was even all trouncy-bouncy, happy-boy last night. Unfortunately I was too exhausted to enjoy it much.

In the morning, he was far too ouchy, and utterly refused to eat or take his pain meds. He was, however, fully engaged in the morning routine, and stood there, shaking and leaning, eagerly awaiting “pants!”

For some reason, putting pants on is an important event for many Jack Russells, and is not to be missed. Jr’s no exception. He plays with the pant legs before the people legs get in there, and I made sure it was quite the game yesterday. It was heartwarming to see him so happy!

But I knew we’d be gone for a long time, and he’d be sleeping much of the day. We left shortly after putting his t-shirt back on, and got back almost exactly 6 hours later.

He was so happy, and clearly feeling much better! His tail was up, his eyes were bright, and he had too much Jackie stuff to do to bother with silly people things like pettin’s.

After getting a few A&W cheese curds, carefully checking each nibble to make sure mom didn’t put meds in there, he trotted through Old Man Jackie time. Which is a circuit through the house he used to speed through so fast, all you saw was a white blur zipping by, and heard som panting along with his collar jingling.

See, I wanted to be around him for this, because he enjoys it more with his peeps around, and had to be near his path. This meant I was on the couch he can freely get on & off of, and he definitely made use of that! He joined me several times, played with the covers, and then snugged when he was finally tuckered out enough to join mom up on the couch for nappie doo.

Snuggling with Jr
Snuggling with Jr on the couch. Look at him bein’ all toasty under the down throw, and using mom’s leg for a pillow!

A couple hours later, Alex woke us up for Jr’s Last Out, reminded me about the whole nighttime meds thing, and helped me with the sleepy time routine. Mainly this entailed making sure all the right stuff (mostly pillows 😜) was in the right places. I was so tired that he also had to help both of us get up on the bed. See, Jr has an easy and safe way down, but the jump from the bed to the chair is too much for him to come up by himself. Me, on the other hand, well, I just didn’t wanna wake up enough to do all this. Even the two little 2″ steps seemed high.

Me

It was quarterly followup day with the neurosurgeon yesterday (2019.02.11). Which happened right after physical therapy, is just over my max travel limit< and we had 90 minutes to get there, get x-rayed, and get over to the doctor’s office. Which is why I knew we’d be gone a long time, although six hours was more than expected.

The spinal fusion is fused, the entry points are thoroughly closed, and the scars are healing nicely.

Which means … hot tub time!!

Yes, we can set this up again, and it will hopefully help relieve some of the pain going on in both the healing area, and all those messed up from the post-surgical restrictions, known as 2 Pickles and a BLT. I couldn’t push, pull, bend, lift, or twist for three months! Additionally, I was unable to lift my arms above shoulder height, or carry anything over 5#. This means a lot of muscle atrophy and lost flexibility has happened quite quickly.

With these restrictions lifted, I can ease back into the Home Exercise Program for my shoulders, feet, hips, and hands. The knees are unhappy, so I’m hoping we can get a PT script to strengthen them, as well.

I used do a lot of these in the hot tub, because it provides some buoyancy (gentle support) to make it easier to focus on the particular muscles for each exercise and stretch. It also helps relax the other muscles that aren’t being worked at the moment, making recovery easier. Finally, the water provides a gentle resistance. Given how long the tub has gone unused and the chilly weather we’ve had, it may take a week to get it set up and bring the water up a therapeutic temperature.

But we can do it now!

The doctors are keeping me on the no anti-inflammatory medication regimen for now, which is supposed to help things heal faster. I hope so!

It turns out inflammation is the healing process at work. It becomes a problem, however, when the body tries to heal the wrong thing or forgets to shut off, and you end up with a lot of allergies and arthritis. And potentially some bigger issues someday such as lupus or multiple sclerosis.

To celebrate the good news, we treated ourselves to A&W on the way home.

Cheese curds, real chicken strips, and their amazing root beer for the win! Also brought home an order of curds for Jr as briefly mentioned above, and a kid’s menu cheeseburger (no toppings or condiments). Unfortunately, when Alex tried re-starting the car to get back on the road, the battery was dead. Thankfully, it started running again before the tow truck got there. The day was so cold and the roads were so messy that all their trucks were super-busy!

After that, we had to find someplace with public restrooms, and took turns so the car didn’t have to stop running. And wouldn’t ya know it, there was a Tim Horton’s nearby!

Cheese curds, A&W root beer, and Tim Bits. All in one day.

It. Was. Awesome!

Then Alex took the car in to to the local Advance Auto Zone to get the battery replaced pronto. After all, the car is seven years old, and this was still the original! Andrew at the store was wonderful to work with, and Alex was able to get there in time for the replacement to get done without having to shut off the engine again.

But back to the medical stuff. Even with all the good news, I’ve had three doctors hint that I should probably get used to the idea that I’m medically disabled. One actually said it, another said going back to work is an ambitious goal that will probably take years, and the third said our goal is to try to get me back to work someday.

In other words, this is the worst possible time for me to live a country with a government eagerly shutting down social programs. But this is a much bigger rant for another post. Or several posts.

For now, thank goodness, I have housing options, a good credit score, and private disability insurance for five years. Which brings us to why things have been so incredibly busy.

Keeping Busy

In addition to trying to blend Pixi into the household, I’ve been busy applying for all the applicable aid, programs, and grants available through the State of Michigan, Federal Government, and private pharmaceutical companies. I’ve been approved for MedicAid and food stamps, now known as EBT. I’m in the waiting list for the chore grant, meaning the paperwork is submitted, and am waiting for the case worker to have time to come out for the home visit.

Now knowing that I’m going to be off work for such as extended time, it’s probably a good idea to add applying for social security disability to the list. Ugh.

And I’ve been finding out which medications are ridiculously expensive, then researching how to afford them. What’s really odd about a lot of these is that they have grants to help if you have private insurance, but not if you have public insurance or have to pay cash. Sorry, but $1800/month for one medication is simply out of reach on a $1500/month income. But when I was making over three times that much, I could get help.

Now that’s just a special kind of stupid.

The eBay store and Amazon inventory are languishing, mostly because people historically don’t buy as much this time of year. And yes, I’ve verified with the IRS that selling home goods purchased for personal use is not defined as income. It’s basically an online garage sale. The Etsy store wasn’t getting much traction, and that’s on hiatus. I’ve also been researching best place to sell used media because Amazon has really clamped down on that, and eBay closed Half.com.

Big companies are so worried about piracy that they’ve made it virtually impossible to sell off your old stuff, even if you obey all the laws. Which is why I pretty much stopped getting new media this past decade or two. I have long believed these millionaires and billionaires don’t need my money as much as I do, and this is even more true now.

There are a couple sites left, and they’re so deep into their specific part of the entertainment industry that each has specialized listing requirements. For example, it’s not enough to list an album. Now it has to be quality graded, and the scratched on codes included so potential buyers know the specific press run, and so on. For a lot of albums, the price is $5 or less, so the effort isn’t worth it, except you don’t know that until you’ve put the time in. And given my ouchy levels, I get one album, cassette, or CD done and have to hobble away to recover. Thankfully the books generally are a lot faster to list. But they’re also heavier, and I have to rely on Alex to bring a couple over to the computer at a time.

Summing Up

So, yeah, more on most of these topics later. For now, I:

  • am sad Pixi is gone and am glad she’s happy
  • love being able to focus on Jr’s last days again, although he got more medications and food in him when she was here
  • am super-busy figuring out how to obtain and make use of the programs and grants available to me, and see why the cycle of poverty is so horrible (you’re too busy being poor to do anything to get out)
  • am still selling stuff to clean out the house to sell the building, preferably before the White House Resident tanks the market again
  • am healing well, and yet probably have to get used to the idea that I’ll never actually be employed full-time (or at all!) again

As usual, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you learned some things along the way.

Hope you have a great day!